Christmas Peppers

comments (2) October 15th, 2009

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Txladybug Txladybug, member
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There are two important facts that you need to know about me:

#1. I have a pale green thumb

#2. I endure Texas weather, just northeast of Houston

The reason my thumb is pale green is that  everything I’ve learned about gardening has come from reading and practice rather than by intuition or birthright.  And I’ve done a LOT of reading – gardening books, journals, magazines, blogs, seed packets, etc.  And in all that reading I’ve come across some pretty interesting stuff:  Ivory soap and jalapeno bug spray, cutworm collars made from toilet paper rolls and panty-hose hammocks for melons to name a few.  But one tidbit came in handy this past spring when #2 came into play.

You see, Texas weather is notorious for being fickle.  In fact, we have a saying in Texas, if you don’t like the weather then just hang around it’ll change.  In my area we normally get the last freeze of spring around the first week of March, but I wasn’t going take chances with the pepper seedlings that I had nurtured from tiny seeds.  I waited until March 18th to transplant them into the open garden.  There they were, all snug in their toilet roll collars with a plastic jug of hot bug spray at the ready, just in case. 

Twenty-one days later, April 7th to be precise, Texas weather out-did herself in the fickleness category.  My heart sunk to my kneecaps when I read the forecast – a low of 31 degrees.  Most of my peppers were already in cages and some even had baby peppers.  I knew I could cover them to keep them from freezing, but weather that cold would most likely stunt the plants for good.

Thankfully, all that reading I’d been doing kicked in.  A distant memory from an magazine article popped up on my brain desktop. I looked outside; the sun had almost set.  I didn’t have much time.  I hollered at my husband to go up in the attic and bring down the Christmas lights (he’s learned not to ask).  I piled my son’s arms full of old blankets and sheets and I grabbed the bucket of clothespins and extension chords.  We headed out to the garden and a few minutes later my pepper cages were strung with glowing Christmas lights and wrapped up in blankets and sheets.  I didn’t know if it would be enough, but it was worth a try.

It’s October now, and those same pepper plants are starting to produce their fall crop (yeah, we can do that here in Texas).  They not only lived through that untimely April 7th freeze, but were healthier, more productive, and had less bug problems than any other season I’ve grown them.  I’m not sure if all the credit goes to those glowing lights, but then, Christmas works a magic all its own. 



posted in: peppers, texas, freeze protection

Comments (2)

HoustonGardner writes: Great story! I have been selecting pepper seeds (Charles Darwin and all that stuff) and bringing on my peppers to survive the worst of Texas weather (here in Houston). Most of my plants gave a crop and died off in August, but my plants I was favoring sprung back to life, gave a crop on Christmas Day, and even now I'm seeing new flowers. Naturally I've been keeping the seeds from these 3 very succesful plants and will sow the 2011 crop from them. I'm interested in learning what peppers you were growing. For me this has not been a typical experience in Texas, and I've been wondering if maybe I'm getting it right by applying evolutionary selection. This will be the third/fourth generation of these particular seeds now, from the original plants I started out with. The question is whether my plants will now survive the frost which has settled in. I'm watering them with tepid warm water, and thinking of ways to heat the soil. Ten months on and these particular plants are looking healthy, the stems are thick, green, the leaves are very healthy and the plants are still producing flowers. I see you posted your story last year, but I hope you see this. :)
Posted: 10:11 am on December 27th
JadaE writes: I love it! Wonder if any planes overhead got confused? :)
Posted: 9:58 am on October 16th
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